Weyerhaeuser Company Limited today joined with several First Nations, the Government of Ontario, and other forest companies and contractors in signing an historic shareholder-managed Sustainable Forest Licence (SFL) covering the Kenora Forest.
Under the new SFL, First Nations and industry shareholders take over management of forestry operations on the 1.2 million-hectare Kenora Forest through a limited partnership.
Miitigoog LP is responsible for all forest management aspects of the Kenora SFL including planning, certification, compliance, road construction and maintenance, and silviculture.
Participants include Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, Naotkamegwanning First Nation, Ochiichagwe’Babigo’Ining First Nation, Weyerhaeuser, Kenora Forest Products, Wincrief Forestry Products, Kenora Independent Loggers, and other companies with forestry operations on the Kenora Forest. The new arrangement also provides an entry mechanism for additional First Nations who would like to join the new company.
Chief Eric Fisher of Wabaseemoong Independent Nations is president of the new board of directors of Miitigoog.
“I am pleased that industry and First Nations can work together to improve opportunities for First Nations members and Ontario citizens,” said Chief Fisher.
“The transfer of this Sustainable Forest License is a terrific example of cooperation between private sector and First Nations companies in the north,” said Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. “Both Weyerhaeuser and Miitigoog are to be commended for being good corporate citizens and the McGuinty government is proud to have supported these partners throughout the process, as we transition into a new tenure and pricing system.”
“Today’s agreement shows that industry, First Nations, governments and others can come together in economic ventures that provide for access, representation, respect, understanding and collaboration,” said Anne Giardini, President of Weyerhaeuser Company Limited. “We look forward to working with and learning from our new partners.”
“Both companies are demonstrating their commitment to the long-term health of the Kenora Forest,” said Linda Jeffery, Ontario Minister of Natural Resources.”Their efforts have been, and will continue to be, essential to balancing the social, economic and environmental obligations of Crown forest management.”